Race report 2017 Florida Winternats Merlin Depta
With my mechanic and fellow Serpent driver Dennis Sting we arrived Saturday night in Fort Myers. After rental car pick-up we drove over to our hotel, got some food and tried to get some sleep. Jetlag in this direction of the globe is always quiet hard for me so that we finally got up again at 4:00AM to prepare some body shells and the Serpent Viper 977 EVO-2 cars.
Due to my change to O.S. engines by the beginning of 2017, we went for break-in to “Nuggets Ranch” in Arcadia, a private race track in the backyard of our friend Greg Esser. Whenever you come there it’s worth a visit! Super easy and open people who enjoy their weekends in the backyard of a friend! We stayed there for two days, Sunday for break-in and Monday to prepare the car for the Winternats. By the way: On this track many previous prototypes cars and parts have been tested over the last years.
Tuesday afternoon “The Fort” was open for practice. We did some laps and really quickly I got to know what many people warned me of: As long as you stay on the track everything will be fine but once you touch a wall, the parts will fall off from the car like crumbs from an old cookie…
A couple of broken wishbones, uprights and shock balljoints later I finally went out on my race body for qualification. For the 7min qualifiers I tried to stay away from the walls, make a good fuel stops and finally made it to the A-main starting from P7 in the grid. Quiet early in practice we decided to take this race against the local heroes easy. The major reason for this statement was the fact that tire additives are allowed in the US. Mark and I decided to not use additive because of several reasons.
The A-main started nicely, some local guys pulled away right from the beginning and Marc Green was in the Mix for Top3. Because of runtime being on the edge on this high speed track I decided to go for 4:00min fuel stops. Pitman Dennis did quick consistent stops so that I didn’t have to worry about this topic. While Mark and me were on a one stop tire strategy, most of the other drivers changed twice. For us tire wear was no problem, but probably some other drivers went on a two stop strategy because of the use of additives. In the end Mark finished in 3rd position and I came in 5th, and we also new team-mate Ralph Burch and Tony Rice in the main, so 4 out of 10 !
I really enjoyed the stay in Florida. The people are super nice and friendly. It felt as if we had been there for years already! I hope to come back next year to this awesome country and probably one of the best places for food! My next “big” stop will be the EFRA GP Series in Cassino end of March.
If you are looking for a setup sheet… Just click on “Mark Green – Winternats 2017” in www.serpent.com
I transferred his setup to my 977 car during qualifying which was a HUGE improvement!
See you on the track!